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Malraux, The Daring Dreamer

One of the greatest lives in 20th-century French arts and politics is rendered as dull as a historical timetable in "Malraux," vet Gallic writer-helmer Michele Rosier's listless dramatization.

Cast:
With: Philippe Clevenot, Jerome Robart, Isabelle Ronayette, Vanessa Larre, Marion Beulque, Raphael Personnaz, Francois Lebrun, Elizabeth Kaza, Maud Rayer, Berangere Bonvoisin, Denis Podalydes, Daniel Martin, Andre Gide.

One of the greatest lives in 20th-century French arts and politics is rendered as dull as a historical timetable in “Malraux,” vet Gallic writer-helmer Michele Rosier’s listless dramatization. Epic in length only, pic’s lack of budgetary resources is one thing; harder to excuse are its flat pacing, indifferent visuals and negligible emotional engagement. Subject will guarantee tube play in French-speaking territories, but would have been far better served by docu treatment.

Born just after the turn of the last century, Andre Malraux showed a taste for adventure from an early age, traipsing off to Cambodia with first wife Clara in search of fortune, then to Indochina as a leftist journalist. His literary fame secured by the novel “Man’s Fate” in 1933, he continued to place politics first — via service in the Spanish Civil War, antifascist campaigns and late-WWII Resistance efforts — only to find his Marxist sympathies slowly eroded as a high-ranking official under DeGaulle. Malraux undoubtedly was a man of greater intellectual clarity than emotional access. Still, turgid bio fails to make anything more vivid than the remote personality (played as a young man by Jerome Robart, in maturity by Philippe Clevenot) at its colorless center.

Malraux, The Daring Dreamer

France

Production: A Go Film production. Produced by Jean-Pierre Bamberger. Directed, written by Michele Rosier.

Crew: Camera (color), Emmanuel Machuel; editor, Dominique Paris; music, Yves Cert; production designer, Olivier Jacquet. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (World Cinema), Aug. 28, 2001. Running time: 180 MIN.

With: With: Philippe Clevenot, Jerome Robart, Isabelle Ronayette, Vanessa Larre, Marion Beulque, Raphael Personnaz, Francois Lebrun, Elizabeth Kaza, Maud Rayer, Berangere Bonvoisin, Denis Podalydes, Daniel Martin, Andre Gide.

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